(Note: Remarks prepared for delivery)
For those of us who grew up in “The Godfather” generation and now live in the era of “The Sopranos,” today’s case demonstrates once again that organized crime is not fiction. It is alive and real and there is nothing romantic or glamorous about it. The allegations behind today’s arrests include murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, and extortion.
Twenty years ago, I was part of an organized crime squad in New York City, working with some of the very same partners who stand here today. Back then, we undertook investigations to break the mob’s stranglehold on construction, the Fulton Fish Market, the Convention Center, and the Garment Center.
Mob activities result in drugs on our playgrounds and deaths on our streets. Mob influence results in a hidden tax that drives up what the average person pays for a hotel room, an apartment, a pair of pants, or a piece of fish.
That we are once again looking at mob infiltration of New York’s trucking and construction industries shows that organized crime will always try for a resurgence—as long as mobsters can wield fear and violence as a means to satisfy their own greed. We cannot, and will not, allow them to succeed.
As the FBI approaches its 100-year anniversary, we remember that our very beginnings were rooted in fighting gangsterism. We face other daunting challenges today, but our commitment to battling organized crime has never wavered.
From the days of the Black Hand terrorizing merchants to today’s modern efforts by organized crime to take over entire industries, the FBI has faced these threats together with our partners, especially those in Italian law enforcement.
I want to acknowledge Deputy Director Grassi from the Italian National Police. While the arrests made in Italy today are not directly connected to these prosecutions, his presence here symbolizes the international partnership and commitment of our countries to fight against organized crime together.
We are also proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners—the multitude of law enforcement agencies and regulatory organizations you see up here—in the successful culmination of our lengthy investigation against the Gambino crime family.
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